I was two thirds of the way to the end of a 45 member circle at a workshop, hating my position in the line-up. The facilitator started an introduction exercise that involved reciting the names of preceding individuals -from the beginning. The room was filled with science types, many commenting on the cognitive process of memory. As the people before me went, I concentrated on the names, faces and associating ideas with them. Dawn had an image of the rising sun behind her dark hair and Robin'........ Read more »
L TALIB, M YASSUDA, B ODINIZ, O FORLENZA, & W GATTAZ. (2008) Cognitive training increases platelet PLA2 activity in healthy elderly subjects. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. DOI: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.03.002
Lead What causes some individuals to be more violent than others? Obviously, being male is a risk factor for violence and more broadly for criminal behavior. The behavior of one's parents or other adult caretakers, as one is growing up, has been implicated in some studies as well. Poverty is an indirect factor as it can be associated with more direct risk factors.
A new study in PLoS looks specifically at one of several possible environmental factors linked to arrest patterns in g........ Read more »
John Wright, Kim N Dietrich, M Douglas Ris, Richard W Hornung, Stephanie D Wessel, Bruce P Lanphear, Mona Ho, Mary N Rae, & John Balmes. (2008) Association of Prenatal and Childhood Blood Lead Concentrations with Criminal Arrests in Early Adulthood. PLoS Medicine, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050101
Parents should avoid harsh, combative ways of disciplining their aggressive children. That's according to psychologists whose new research shows that harsh parenting makes children more aggressive in the long run.Michael Sheehan and Malcolm Watson followed 440 children and their mothers for five years. On four occasions during that time, the mothers answered questions about their own style of parenting and their children's behaviour. At the start of the study, the children's avera........ Read more »
Michael Sheehan, & Malcolm W Watson. (2008) Reciprocal influences between maternal discipline techniques and aggression in children and adolescents. Aggressive Behavior, 34(3), 245-255. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20241
Discussion of Allen (2008) essay in Nature about Earth surface processes research directions.... Read more »
In the US, we’re often concerned about invasive and range-extending species entering ecosystems through waterways (zebra mussels, hydrilla), across our southern border (fire ants, nine-banded armadillos), or as escapees from gardens and yards (Chinese tallow, Nandina). However, one owl species-the Barred Owl, Strix varia-has expanded its range over the last 50 years eastward through ... Read more »
Heather Ishak, John P Dumbacher, Nancy L Anderson, John J Keane, Gediminas Valkiūnas, Susan M Haig, Lisa A Tell, Ravinder N Sehgal, & Matthew Baylis. (2008) Blood Parasites in Owls with Conservation Implications for the Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis). PLoS ONE, 3(5). DOI/10.1371/journal.pone.0002304
A very large Azhdarchid shown with a human for scale. Azhdarchids were pterosaurs (flying reptile-like creatures) of the Cretaceous. These included some gigantic critters with up to a 10 meter wing span, but also some little ones (2.5 meters or so). Most reconstructions of these flying animals have them skim-feeding across the surface of bodies of water, grabbing near-surface animals with their beaks.
A new paper in PLoS criticizes this view suggesting that there is very little evidence i........ Read more »
Mark Witton, & Darren Naish. (2008) A Reappraisal of Azhdarchid Pterosaur Functional Morphology and aleoecology. PLoS ONE, 3(5).
One of the more common questions I get is why they haven't found any drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease. (But they have, haven't they? What about cholinesterase inhibitors like Aricept? Ed. Those drugs mask the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but they do not change the clinical course.) Drug companies are particularly gifted at finding molecules to inhibit all the enzymes in our bodies. We know the enzymes involved in the etiology of Alzheimer's (as I will explain ........ Read more »
L Rajendran, A Schneider, G Schlechtingen, S Weidlich, J Ries, T Braxmeier, P Schwille, J Schulz, C Schroeder, M Simons.... (2008) Efficient Inhibition of the Alzheimer's Disease -Secretase by Membrane Targeting. Science, 320(5875), 520-523. DOI: 10.1126/science.1156609
It’s a funny thing, being diagnosed with a mental disease. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, instead of a scientific tests, most mental illness diagnoses are made after you’ve talked to someone, answered specific questions, even completed a questionnaire. I know that someday diagnosing conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder will be more exact, ... Read more »
M Day. (2008) Drug industry is partly to blame for overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, researchers claim. BMJ, 336(7653), 1092-1093. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.39577.442650.DB
Some birds can! A group of shorebirds called phalaropes have a curious way of feeding. They feed on the surface of lakes, tidal wetlands and other bodies of water by swimming around in a tight circle on the surface furiously kicking their legs. This creates a vortex in which tiny aquatic invertebrates like shrimp, aquatic insects and copepods are pulled to the surface. Once food items are trapped in the swirling water phalaropes gobble them up with their long thin bills. But, while the phalarope........ Read more »
M Prakash, D Quere, & J Bush. (2008) Surface Tension Transport of Prey by Feeding Shorebirds: The Capillary Ratchet. Science, 320(5878), 931-934. DOI: 10.1126/science.1156023
For some time now we've known that in the brains of humans, monkeys and cats, visual information is processed by two separate streams - one for working out where things are and the other for processing what they are. Now Stephen Lomber and Shveta Malhotra have conducted an experiment on cats and provided perhaps the strongest evidence to date that, in the mammalian brain, sounds too are processed via two separate "what" and "where" streams.Lomber and Malhotra used a new ........ Read more »
Stephen Lomber, & Shveta Malhotra. (2008) Double dissociation of 'what' and 'where' processing in auditory cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 11(5), 609-616. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2108
Previously, we’ve looked at a perceptive account of ideophones in nineteenth-century Ewe by Joh. Bernard Schlegel. But Schlegel was not just a keen observator of the synchronic structure of Ewe, he also had clear ideas on where the language came from (damned primitivity) and where it was going (blessed enlightenment). A Pietist missionary above all [...]... Read more »
Philip A Noss. (1999) The Ideophone: A Dilemma for Translation and Translation Theory. New Dimensions in African Linguistics and Languages.
TOPIC: psychology, peer-reviewed research
RECENT results from a small pilot study by Susan Evans & colleagues (2008, see full citation and summary below) add to the growing literature on the efficacy of mindfulness-based approaches to various psychological disorders, in this case applied to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a disabling anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety and associated physical symptoms in the face of little-or-no provocation (see, e.g. the NIMH site on GAD).
M........ Read more »
S EVANS, S FERRANDO, M FINDLER, C STOWELL, C SMART, & D HAGLIN. (2008) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(4), 716-721. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.07.005
Whether you bend it like Beckham or Ronaldo or Juninho or even Nakamura; the curving free kick is one of the most exciting plays in soccer/football. Starting with Rivelino in the 1970 World Cup and on to the specialists of today, more players know how to do it and understand the basic physics behind it, but very few can perfect it. But, when it does happen, by chance or skill, it is the highlight of the game.But let's take a look at this from the other side, through the eyes of the goalkeeper........ Read more »
Cathy Craig, Eric Berton, Guillaume Rao, Laure Fernandez, & Reinoud J Bootsma. (2006) Judging where a ball will go: the case of curved free kicks in football. Naturwissenschaften, 93(2), 97-101. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-005-0071-0
Japanese actress and singer Ryoko Hirosue...and watching your movies boosts my peripheral levels of dopamine and circulating natural killer cells, and activates my medial prefrontal cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, subcallosal gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex, superior temporal gyrus, and cerebellum.Fig. 3 (Matsunaga et al., 2008). Statistical parametric maps (SPM99) showing significant increases in the rCBF in the positive condition minus those in the control condition. (a) Activations of the M........ Read more »
M MATSUNAGA. (2008) Associations among central nervous, endocrine, and immune activities when positive emotions are elicited by looking at a favorite person. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22(3), 408-417. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2007.09.008
Mind you, I'm not anti-medication. I'm just anti-brainwashing.... Read more »
Richard Weisler, & Randall F White. (2008) Managing Expectations and Individualizing Treatment for Adults With ADHD: An Expert Interview With Richard H. Weisler, MD. Medscape Psychiatry . http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/572666?src
Biological structure and function of proteins are linked to sequence, but to what degree do minute changes in sequence affect structure? In 1994, Trevor Creamer and George Rose proposed the Paracelsus challenge, which sought to change the conformation of a protein while retaining at least 50% of its sequence. Three years later, Dalal et al. transformed the beta-1 domain of the streptococcal protein G from mainly beta-sheets into 4 alpha-helices while retaining 50% of the original sequence beatin........ Read more »
P Alexander, Y He, Y Chen, J Orban, & P N Bryan. (2007) The design and characterization of two proteins with 88% sequence identity but different structure and function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(29), 11963-11968. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0700922104
Different orchid species have evolved intriguing ways of attracting pollinators. The most common method is one where the flower has morphological structures that mimic those of other species that provide food for the pollinators. In a recent paper in Current Biology, Brodmann et al. report the use of chemical mimicry in Epipactis helleborine. The E. helleborine orchid is a wasp-flower that inhabits dark forest understories where pollinators like honey bees and butterflies are rare. Instead, wasp........ Read more »
J BRODMANN, R TWELE, W FRANCKE, G HOLZLER, Q ZHANG, & M AYASSE. (2008) Orchids Mimic Green-Leaf Volatiles to Attract Prey-Hunting Wasps for Pollination. Current Biology, 18(10), 740-744. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.040
While the deep-sea may be the final frontier for marine biologists, caves are one of the least studied environments on land. Some caves can extend dozens of miles below the ground in sinuous networks, all but cut off from the grassy hills and tree-lined horizons above. Its not an easy environment to access and many explorers have perished attempting to map these subterranean labyrinths. Yet, recent investigations have found an astonishing community of invertebrates associated with caves, existin........ Read more »
NICOLE HILLS, GRANT HOSE, ANDREW CANTLAY, & BRAD MURRAY. (2008) Cave invertebrate assemblages differ between native and exotic leaf litter. Austral Ecology, 33(3), 271-277. DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01814.x
A PAPER PUBLISHED recently in Nature details the discovery of a common ancestor of salamanders and frogs, Gerobatrachus hottoni, by Anderson and coworkers. This creature had a salamander-like build, but has a broadened skull like frogs. A variety of traits were studied to determine this organism’s relationships, such as the teeth, various skull [...]... Read more »
Jason Anderson, Robert R Reisz, Diane Scott, Nadia B Fröbisch, & Stuart S Sumida. (2008) A stem batrachian from the Early Permian of Texas and the origin of frogs and salamanders. Nature, 453(7194), 515-518. DOI/10.1038/nature06865
Should doctors be able to turn patients away if they disagree with their lifestyle choice?
The article reads like many pregnancy stories. The happy couple finally become pregnant against all odds and eagerly anticipates the birth of their first child. This story, however, takes a twist that many people, including doctors, find hard to fathom.
In this ... Read more »
F Curlin, R E Lawrence, M H Chin, & J D Lantos. (2007) Religion, Conscience, and Controversial Clinical Practices. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(6), 593-600. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa065316
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